Although Bobby the Bearcat might be the official Northwest mascot, the unofficial mascot is the squirrel.
Students will never walk to class without seeing a squirrel on their way. There is even a Twitter account dedicated to the squirrels, @NWSquirrels, with 607 followers.
Freshman Shelby Massow describes the squirrels as “territorial and confident.”
“They always act like they are going to come at me, but as soon as I take a step towards them, they run off,” Massow said. “I like them though. They are pretty entertaining.”
Although most students have learned to accept or ignore the squirrels, some even make a game of trying to spot the notorious black squirrel. Others are not so accepting.
One such student is freshman Cassie Keller.
“My boyfriend really loves squirrels. They are his favorite animal,” Keller said. “It was Sunday night and I was working on a paper when he calls me.”
Keller’s boyfriend, Austin Haupt, discovered a squirrel that was hit by a car. He requested her help in trying to save the squirrel. Keller met Haupt and his friends by the flags. He was carrying the injured squirrel on a longboard.
“The squirrel looked like its back was broken, its back legs were dragging,” Keller said. “I picked it up and moved it around to see what else was wrong.”
Keller recalls that the squirrel did not fight her when she moved it or seem aggressive...yet.
“It was fine until a couple minutes later when it started to bite me,” Keller said.
The squirrel bit down hard on Keller’s finger and refused to let go. When the squirrel finally let go, Keller’s finger was bleeding and she called her mother for advice.
Her mother referred her to the hospital and told her to call the University Police to catch the squirrel and have it tested.
Haupt was worried about Keller.
“My first thought was, ‘there is no way I am kissing you tonight incase you have rabies’,” Haupt said.
Luckily, the University Police arrived soon and took care of the situation.
“They caught the squirrel and told me to go to the hospital. I was there for two hours waiting before they gave me antibiotics,” Keller said. The fate of the squirrel is unknown.
Keller heard from the vet Oct. 26. She was relieved to hear that the squirrel tested negative for rabies.
Although the squirrels around campus seem to be cute and cuddly, some fight back. It is best for students to be aware that they should not pick up an injured animal and always have a bite seen by a doctor.
Keller’s bite seems to be healing quickly and she does not have rabies, but she is very lucky. Beware of the squirrels.